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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 7, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678) -- Knoxville, Tennessee. Television: FSN. Home Record: TTU 4-1, UT 3-0. Away Record: TTU 1-2, UT 0-1. Neutral Record: TTU 0-2, UT 2-1. Conference Record: TTU 0-0, UT 0-0. Series Record: Tennessee leads, 20-1.
GAME NOTES: Coming off a pair of victories in the Bahamas, the Tennessee Volunteers return home to take on in-state rival Tennessee Tech this afternoon.
The Volunteers have dominated this series, having taken 20 of the 21 all-time meetings, including four in a row. Tennessee trounced Wake Forest, 82-63, a week ago to finish its stay at the Battle 4 Atlantis. The volunteers won their final two games of the event, also beating Xavier after falling to UTEP in the first contest. Jarnell Stokes hung up a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebound in the game against the Demon Deacons. The Volunteers also received 16 points form Darius Thompson off the bench and 10 from Jordan McRae.
The difference for the Vols this season has been great board work. They pace the SEC and are ranked 10th in the nation in rebounding defense, allowing just 29.3 per contest. They're also pulling down an average of 16 offensive boards, which ranks in the top-10 in the country. Another difference-maker has been free throw shooting. In two of their defeats - to Xavier and UTEP, the Vols have made 51.7 percent from the foul line. In the victories, the Vols are shooting 75.3 percent from the charity stripe.
Stokes, who has posted three consecutive double-doubles, is averaging 14.3 points and a team-best 9.6 rebounds while firing at 49.3 percent from the field. McRae, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, paces the team with 19.1 ppg. Senior forward Jeronne Maymon (9.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg), guards Josh Richardson (6.6 ppg) and Antonio Barton (8.7 ppg) are also in the starting lineup. Barton is shooting 45 percent from 3-point range.
Tennessee Tech will try to bounce back from a loss at Lipscomb on Thursday. Josiah Moore had 12 points, while Dennis Ogbe and Ladon Carter each had 10 for the Golden Eagles, who shot 39.3 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers.
Junior college transfer Dwan Caldwell is pulling down a team-best 7.6 rebounds and is the second-leading scorer at 10.8 ppg. He is just behind junior guard Ty Allen (11.7 ppg). Dennis Ogbe (9.3 ppg) and Ladon Carter (9.2 ppg) are also part of the starting lineup for a team that is averaging 74.8 points.
The Golden Eagles have been overmatched in this rivalry and today should be no different, even though the teams haven't met since 2006 when Bruce Pearl was head coach of the Volunteers. The Vols own a 51-2 all-time record against current members of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Vols should coast heading into their matchup next Saturday against nationally-ranked and unbeaten Wichita State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee 85, Tennessee Tech 61
12/07 10:33:25 ET